MOSAIC ART: Design & Inspiration

Those who enjoyed Martin Cheek's DESIGN SOURCEBOOK - MOSAICS, a superb compendium of works by assorted contemporary mosaicists, will welcome this one, in which most of the mosaics are by Martin himself.

The idea of the book is to show many examples of how an idea for a mosaic is first realised as a design; then that design is carefully developed, bearing in mind the demands of the subject and the very particular demands of the mosaic medium; and finally the mosaic itself is created.

Reading this book is the next best thing to listening to Martin as he works on his mosaics. He starts by talking about the elements of design - contrast and colour and detail - and goes on to discuss potential sources of inspiration - nature, museums, churches, even other artists. For example we learn how he evolved the design for a large oval table, to be mosaiced with Berkshire flora and fauna. The various elements had to be linked to each other and not isolated, and they had to complement the elliptical shape; and the various colours, which the client wanted to be bright and shining, had to balance one another within the design.

As with the table, so also with panels and plaques and murals and floor slabs and sculptures - the book, as promised, offers a wealth of inspiration and lots of advice from an old hand, advice both theoretical and practical.

Talking of practicalities, there is a chapter with that very title, which includes details of the Budds' wire mesh technique, working to commission, how to price a mosaic and creating a portfolio.

An excellent book, and if I were to pick my favourite piece, it would be the yard-long Guinea Fowl Mosaic Sculpture in Martin's garden, a scrumptious celebration of smalti and white marble with a stoneware-fired ceramic head.

Paul Bentley 2003

Price: 17.99

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